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Six Memos for the Next Millennium

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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,934 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Six Memos for the Millennium is a collection of five lectures Italo Calvino was about to deliver at the time of his death. Here is his legacy to us: the universal values he pinpoints become the watchwords for our appreciation of Calvino himself.

What should be cherished in literature? Calvino devotes one lecture, or memo to the reader, to each of five indispensable qualitie
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Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 4th 2009 by Vintage International (first published 1988)
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Riku Sayuj

This is a series of lectures and in each of them Calvino takes it upon himself to recommend to the next millennium a particular literary value which he holds dear, and has tried to embody in his work. That way this book becomes not only a manifesto on how to write but also a guide to interpreting Calvino’s writings.

1) Lightness: not frivolity but a lightness of touch that allows the writer and reader to soar above the paralyzing heaviness of the world.
2) Quickness: the mental speed of the narra
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Jonfaith
I would not be so drastic. I think we are always searching for something hidden or merely potential or hypothetical, following its traces whenever they appear on the surface. I think our basic mental processes have come down to us through every period of history, ever since our Paleolithic forefathers, who were hunters and gatherers. The word connects the visible trace with the invisible thing, the absent thing, the thing that is desired or feared, like a frail emergency bridge flung over an aby ...more
Forrest
Let's start with the fact that Italo Calvino is one of my favorite writers of all time. His crystalline surrealism, easy tone (at least in translation), and whimsical subjects (by which I mean situations and characters, inclusive) are, to me, compelling. To say that I went into this book with a favorable view of the author would be a gross understatement. I absolutely adore Calvino's work.

Now, I am also discovering that I don't really like many books about writing. Moorcock's Death is No Obstacl
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Nick
Mar 31, 2008 Nick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who care about literature as a medium
Calvino is just so effortlessly wonderful. He and literature have a very intimate relationship and she tells him secrets about herself that no one else gets to hear. Until now! Calvino spills the beans on what are the qualities he feels are most important to the literature of the future: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity.

I think my favorites were lightness and multiplicity considering that quickness, exactitude, and visibility seem to be very self-evidently positive
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Nate D
Italo Calvino, given the meticulousness and conceptual cohesion of his storytelling, is an unsurprisingly lucid theorist as well. Among his final works, these five essays were drawn from lectures he he was prevented from delivering by his death in 1985, each covering a different literary trait he most valued. (A 6th was never written down.) Equally ordered and discursive, each offers insight into Calvino's writing (though much of it this is self-evident in the writing, as well), commentary on li ...more
Roberta
Ho avuto difficoltà con Calvino romanziere e avevo timore ad affrontare il Calvino saggista. Invece è stata una lettura stimolate, ricca di riferimenti alle letterature occidentali. Mi spiace non sia riuscito a finire queste lezioni, chissà che altro avrebbe potuto dirci con tanta chiarezza.
Jim Coughenour
After posting a couple grumbling reviews, I owe the world of authors some gratitude. I first read Calvino's little book in 1988 and periodically I pick it up and read parts of it again. Six Memos are actually five lectures – illuminating the qualities Calvino most valued in fiction: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility and multiplicity. What's almost miraculous is that Calvino's lectures are perfect examples of the virtues he celebrates – graceful, amused, lustrous with civilized intelli ...more
Maria  (Scratchbook)
Sono insegnamenti, consigli, per gli scrittori, ma anche per noi, per aiutarci ad affrontare la vita in modo più consapevole.
È un saggio molto utile, e molto bello.

Le lezioni, in dettaglio, le trovate sul blog.

http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....
Pierre Menard
Mar 03, 2015 Pierre Menard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who would become a writer
Nel giugno 1984 Italo Calvino fu invitato negli USA a tenere un ciclo di sei seminari presso Harvard: il tema doveva essere la letteratura, ma lo speaker avrebbe avuto piena libertà nel decidere gli argomenti specifici. Come racconta la vedova nella breve premessa, Calvino accettò con entusiasmo e accumulò molto materiale. Sfortunatamente, e non solo per gli studenti di Harvard, Calvino morì l’anno successivo, poco prima di partire per l’America, dopo aver preparato cinque delle sei lezioni. Son ...more
Fran
Troppo breve, mi sono sentita come se mi portasse per mano indicandomi dove e come guardare.
Mia -


Leggere “Lezioni Americane. Sei proposte per il prossimo millennio” di Italo Calvino ha avuto l’incredibile potere di farmi sentire una stupida.
Sospetto che per capirlo a pieno avrei dovuto avere una conoscenza più vasta dell’opera di Calvino, di tutta quanta la letteratura mondiale, tutta quanta la filosofia e una notevole destrezza tra i meandri della scienza.

E' un libro ricco, che affascina, che mette in moto il cervello.
E' un libro onesto, che non impone e non insegna, ma propone, getta i se
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Tim
I've had the uncanny experience of having read this book around when it came out and forgotten most of it, yet rereading it is sort of like being under hypnosis, as it essentially embodies a great deal of what I strive for in my own aesthetic and weltanschauung and how I prepare food and live when you get down to it. In his ode to lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity, Calvino dazzles in his apparently effortless incorporation of all of these qualities, even while admitt ...more
Jim
I just had the nasty experience of writing a review of this book which Goodreads lost somewhere between the moons of Uranus and the neighborhood of Alpha Centauri. Phoooey!

To summarize briefly, Italo Calvino chooses six (actually five) traits he would like to see carried forward into a millennium which, alas, he did not live to see.It almost doesn't matter what these traits are: It only matters that Calvino took all of literature and examined it through his jeweler's loupe, showing us new relati
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Sara
Parlare così di letteratura, con un rigore, una passione e una visione tali da lasciare affascinati, è davvero cosa rara. Ed è difficile sintetizzare o anche solo commentare un libro di questa portata, sia per quanto risulta moderno e attuale, sia per quanto queste proposte di nuova letteratura in realtà siano vere e proprie lezioni di vita, dove leggerezza, rapidità, esattezza, visibilità, molteplicità non sono altro che chiavi di lettura non soltanto della letteratura ma della vita stessa. Per ...more
Tripp
Jul 05, 2013 Tripp added it
Shelves: essays, nonfiction
Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity are the five memos Calvino completed for the 1985-86 Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard. He died before completing the sixth memo, Consistency. The five we have are gems, and hopeful ones at that: "My confidence in the future of literature consists in the knowledge that there are things that only literature can give us, by means specific to it," he writes in a prefatory note, and proceeds to describe the qualities he values in ...more
Стефан Русинов
За да има литературата смисъл в света, Итало Калвино предлага и прилага шест важни качества, на които се надява писането да наблегне през двадесет и първи век - лекота, бързина, точност, нагледност, множественост и съдържателност.

В “Американски лекции” тези наглед очевидни понятия биват разчовъркани, разпердушинени и разхвърляни, ясните думички стават на пух и прах, преди да станат нещо друго, нещо ново, нещо Калвино. Ерудираността на човека на места ми идва в повече, усещам, че не ми достига ин
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Jason
Feb 14, 2010 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Calvino nails it:

"It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty--that is, the use of words. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark that shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances.
At
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Emanuela
La lettura precedente risale a più di vent'anni fa. Nel frattempo ho letto altre opere come "Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore" e "Palomar" che mi risultano adesso più chiare alla luce di questa rilettura.
Di fronte alle riflessioni di Calvino ci si sente piccoli piccoli con la sensazione di essere di fronte all'erudito, mai saccente, che si ascolta a bocca aperta e che fa magicamente apparire vicino a te, come ologrammi, i mostri sacri del pensiero a cui dà voce e il cui compito, eclettico,
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Lu
Di queste Lezioni Americane mi è rimasto impresso il potere che i mondi creati dalla fantasia attraverso l'immaginazione umana hanno su Calvino, e di conseguenza su tutti coloro con cui Calvino interagisce, in un legame che è una sorta di matrioska e da qui torno alla lezione sulla Molteplicità in cui Calvino evidenzia la capacità del pensiero, nel suo più alto ed astratto significato, di travalicare la staticità di una realtà chiusa entro regole e confini precisi prendendo mille forme legate le ...more
Sandra
Sono le conferenze che Calvino preparò per l’Università di Harvard, che non furono mai tenute perché la morte lo colse improvvisamente.
Ne erano previste sei, ma nel suo dattiloscritto, lasciato pronto sopra la scrivania da mettere in valigia, ne furono trovate solamente cinque, la sesta l’avrebbe scritta negli Stati Uniti, si sarebbe intitolata “Consistency” e di essa Esther Calvino dice che avrebbe parlato di Bartleby lo scrivano. In appendice vi è uno scritto, intitolato “cominciare e finire”,
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Dhandayutha
Believe me i have not read any of Calvino fictions works till now.This is my first read.I really loved it for the very reason for the play of dialectics.He never talks about weight instead he talk about lightness, similarly [Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity]. As with many authors he never use the code of mysticism, instead indulge in scientific theories to prove his point. That is the factor which interested me, gives the hope that these things are possible.
Andrew
It sounds weird and slightly retarded to say it, but Calvino was good with words.

Revisiting a great many themes he discussed in The Uses of Literature, he breaks down what he values in reading and writing, and shows examples of the qualities he admires. Throughout, he's an entirely witty, charming commentator. I mean, the categories for literature that he espouses sometimes seem a wee bit arbitrary, but I didn't really care. He makes his case and makes it well.
Seham
ست وصايا للألفية القادمة هي سلسلة محاضرات أعدها كالفينو بغية إلقاءها في جامعة هارفرد غير إنه توفي متأثرا بنزيف دماغي عشية سفره. يفتتح كالفينو وصاياه متحيزا صوب الخفة في ميزان كتابة الرواية ضد الثقل ، تلك التي تُصير الإنسجام بين الإيقاع الداخلي للكاتب وبين مشهد العالم الدرامي قابلا للتحقق. الإبتعاد عن الثقل في وصف البشر والكائنات والأمكنة أو بالأحرى...إزاحة الثقل عن بنية القصص واللغة. يستعين كالفينو هنا بأمثلة أدبية رفيعة المستوى وقديمة التأريخ كالأساطير وأخرى حديثة العهد كأدبيات كونديرا. إن رواي ...more
Judith Shadford
Very much worth reading, not least because Calvino's approach to writing is so different from my own mentors. And the literature referenced so different from my reading (which never has been the original Italian!) I loved his first section on Lightness, not least because he quotes the Perseus-Medusa story in such wonderful detail. That metaphor will stay with me a long time.
Jan van Leent
"Six memos for the next Millennium" by Italo Calvino is a collection of five Charles Eliot Norton Lectures written in 1985/1986 about what should be cherished in literature with intriguing titles:
1 – Lightness,
2 – Quickness,
3 – Exactitude,
4 – Visibility,
5 – Multiplicity
and the never written memo "6 – Consistency".

In my opinion these lectures transcend “Goodreads”, these lectures are a must-reads for every serious writer and reader!

The third memo by Italo Calvino – Exactitude – begins as follows:
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Farhan Khalid


I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies. Sometimes from cities

At certain moments I felt that the entire world was turning into stone

With myths, one should not be in a hurry

It is better to let them settle into the memory

It is true that software cannot exercise its powers of lightness except through the weight of hardware

The iron machines still exist, but they obey the orders of weightless bits



Death is hidden in clocks

Tristram Shandy does not want to be
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Nicola
Amazing how these memos, which Calvino wrote in 1985, apply to so much of the literature that followed. Certain memos/ideas--"lightness," and "multiplicity"--seem integral to postmodernism. Other memos--especially the ones on "exactitude," "quickness," and "visibility"--seem integral to good writing in general.

Though I'm not a personal fan of PoMo, I am--aren't we all?--a product of it in many ways--kind of like when you're born in the '80s, you aren't actively doing it, but are definitely affe
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Ben
Six Memos represents the English translations of essays on literature prepared by Italo Calvino for the Eliot Norton Lectures. Tragically, Calvino died a few months before delivering his discussions, but the existing manuscript was discovered by his widow, Esther, “all in perfect order, in the Italian original, on his writing desk ready to be put into his suitcase.”

Completed herein are five of the six “memos”: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity with Consistency being
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Ryan Werner
Italo Calvino's lectures on his hope for the future of literature show a deep understanding of both its changing and persistent qualities.

Italian writer Italo Calvino (1923-1985) starts Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Trans. Patrick Creagh. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988, ISBN: 0679742379) off with a single paragraph introduction, stating near the end of it that his "confidence in the future of literature consists in the knowledge that there are things that only literature can give us, by means
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Anna [Floanne]
La mia, in realtà, è una rilettura, poiché io e questo testo ci eravamo già conosciuti qualche anno fa, all'epoca dell'Università. È comunque sempre un piacere, a distanza di anni, ritrovarmi a pensare le stesse cose di allora e ritrovare anche appunti e sottolineature dei passi che mi avevano colpita maggiormente. Più che un saggio, questa si riconferma una perla di rara bellezza che getta la propria luce su quelle che, a detta di Calvino, dovrebbero essere le qualità fondamentali della scrittu ...more
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Goodreads Italia: Lezioni americane di Italo Calvino - Commenti e discussione 57 114 Mar 19, 2015 08:34AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Američka predavanja 2 16 Sep 12, 2013 06:49AM  
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Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic
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More about Italo Calvino...
If on a winter's night a traveler Invisible Cities The Baron in the Trees Cosmicomics Il cavaliere inesistente

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“I will start out this evening with an assertion: fantasy is a place where it rains.” 50 likes
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